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American News Mar 28, 2022 4:29 AM EST

Progressive mega-donor arrested in Maine on child porn charges

Cutler faces four felony counts of possession of sexually explicit material of a minor younger than 12.

Progressive mega-donor arrested in Maine on child porn charges
James Anthony Montreal QC

A prominent progressive politician who has funded Democrats in Maine and elsewhere, including multiple donations to the Biden campaign, was arrested Friday in his home state and charged with possession of child pornography.

Mega-donor Eliot Culter, age 75, was taken into police custody by troopers at his home in Brooklin after a two-month investigation, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Shannon Moss confirmed to News Center Maine.

Cutler is facing four counts of possession of unlawful sexually explicit materials Class C, which means subjects were younger than 12-years-old, Matthew J. Foster, district attorney for Hancock and Washington counties, told the local outlet.

The arrest comes days after authorities executed search warrants at Cutler's homes on Pine Street in Portland and on Naskeag Point in Brooklin. Law enforcement conducted a search at two properties owned by Cutler earlier in the week.

Cutler was held on $50,000 bail at Hancock County Jail with a court date set for Monday. Each of the four counts carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, the National File said. Foster said additional charges were expected to be filed.

News Center Maine reported that Cutler was released on bail Saturday afternoon.

Foster said police first received a tip back in December from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children involving a single illegal photo. A search of devices in the past week resulted in at least 10 more files, according to Foster.

The disgraced politician had served in the Carter administration in the late 1970s with the Office of Management and Budget. He has also worked for the office of Maine Sen. Ed Muskie, also a Democrat. Cutler ran twice as an independent candidate for governor of Maine in the state's 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial races.

In recent years, Cutler has made donations to several high-profile Democrats, donating multiple times to the presidential campaigns of President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former President Barack Obama, the National File cited.

Cutler's donations to politicians span from Maine to state Democratic parties in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Virginia, Nevada, and Florida.

A late January 2021 article by The Portland Press Herald said Cutler served on the board of directors for Thornburg Investment Management, which is listed as Cutler's employer for donations to Biden's presidential campaign in 2020.

Cutler's bio page has since been scrubbed from Thornburg's website.

Responding to news of Cutler's arrest, Maine GOP executive director Jason Savage called on Democrats who have received donations from him to return the contributions. "Eliot Cutler is a benefactor of Maine Democratic Party candidates and has traveled in elite Democrat circles for many decades," Savage said in an email statement to the press. "His beneficiaries nationwide need to return his donations immediately. This needs to start here in Maine, today."

Cutler was named CEO of the University of Maine System's Professional and Graduate Center Initiative in April 2015. He outlined goals that included working to boost enrollment and strengthen the system's graduate programs. Two years later, Cuter resigned from the critical leadership position in 2017.

In addition, Cutler resigned Wednesday from his role on the board of the Lender Foundation, according to the organization's executive director Don Carpenter.

"We were deeply disturbed to learn about the serious accusations brought against Eliot Cutler today," Carpenter said in a press statement posted to the organization's website Friday. "In his former role on the Board of Directors, Eliot was involved in high-level strategy and governance and did not directly interface with students who participated in grant funded programming."



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